Helmet Regulation in Vietnam: Impact on Health, Equity, and Medical Impoverishment

Authors: Zachary Olson, John A. Staples, Charles Mock, Nam Phuong Nguyen, Abdulgafoor M. Bachani, Rachel Nugent, Stéphane Verguet

Using Vietnam’s comprehensive helmet policy, this chapter bolsters the case for similar policy adoption in neighboring countries as well as in other low- and middle-income countries. The study simulated the impact on health consequences by estimating the number of deaths and nonfatal head injuries attributable to motorcycles both prior to and after implementation of the comprehensive helmet policy. The simulation estimates that the 2007 helmet policy prevented approximately 2,200 deaths and 29,000 head injuries, saved individuals US$18 million in direct acute care costs, and averted US$29 million in individual income losses in the year following its introduction. While large health and financial benefits accrued to the wealthy, the policy also provided significant health benefits and substantial financial risk protection to Vietnam’s poorest citizens.